Last week's rumor was half confirmed Sunday as Garmin Transitions announced its new sports science team, a team absent Allen Lim. Now Lim has confirmed his move to Radio Shack, while denying the rumor of a $500,000 salary. Lim cited a desire to scale back his traveling days and the prospect of working with Taylor Phinney again as reasons for the move.
Lim emerged on the international scene as one of Floyd Landis' coaches, escaping relatively unscathed when Landis was disgraced. Though some accused Lim of being Landis' prepatore, his protestations of ignorance were more or less accepted as he moved on to work for Garmin Slipstream. There he built up a cult status as the geeky scientist who would leave no stone unturned in searching for a legal advantage.
We had two lengthy interviews with Lim (here and here), where he displayed an almost messianic belief in the power of clean cycling to overcome doping. He also claimed that the doping hasn't been proven to be performance enhancing, especially in the long run. While he was roundly criticized as delusional in the comments section here and in many forums elsewhere, I took it as a sign of his deep belief in clean sport and his concern for the long term health of his athletes.
All this makes his rumored move to Radio Shack seem deeply cynical. Even if we set aside the checkered history of the Armstrong/Bruyneel alliance, Lim must reconcile his belief that "6.7 watts is not physiological (sic) or humanly possible, unless you're a hybrid human horse or a greyhound human dog or another species", with Armstrong's reported 500 watt (6.75 watts/kg at 74 kg) output at Alpe d'Huez in 2004 (thanks to Shane Stokes' twitter feed).
As for 'The Shack', this is the second year running where they've pried a prominent figure from Garmin. While Taylor Phinney was certainly a great loss for Garmin, this move seems more personal, a deliberate corruption of one of the champions of Garmin's mission. It's akin to Al Capone buying off one of the Untouchables just to prove that money can trump principle. While Lim is certainly valuable to any cycling team, does Armstrong's vaunted F1 team really need his help? Did Armstrong and Bruyneel hire Lim just to spite Garmin?
Lim followed the Tour in 2005 as Landis' personal coach. That Tour he heard of doping practices that shocked and appalled him. Maybe those things helped form his philosophy and drove him to Garmin. We can only hope that he hasn't abandoned those principles in search of the mighty dollar.
You know that old box of bike parts you've put in your closet?
In Episode #4 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France press room in Carmaux, the finish of Stage 10, Anthony Tan ropes back in Cyclingnews’ Daniel Benson and Procycling’s Eu
In Episode #3 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France press room atop Super Besse, Anthony Tan ropes back in Cyclingnews’ Daniel Benson and Procycling’s European Editor, Dan